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Arms of L.O.F.C.: A football inscribed "1881" with supporters 2 wyverns gules
|Full name||Leyton Orient Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||The O's, Orient|
|Founded||1881 (as Eagle Cricket Club)|
|2011–12||League One, 20th|
Arms of L.O.F.C.: A football inscribed "1881" with supporters 2 wyverns gules
|Full name||Leyton Orient Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||The O's, Orient|
|Founded||1881 (as Eagle Cricket Club)|
|2011–12||League One, 20th|
Leyton Orient F.C. / / are an English professional football club in east London. They play in Football League One, the third tier of professional soccer in England, and are known to their fans as the O's.
Leyton Orient have spent one season in the top flight of English football, in 1962–63. In 1978, Orient reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the only time in their history, under the management of Jimmy Bloomfield, but were beaten 3–0 by Arsenal. Between October 1993 and September 1995, Orient did not win a single away game in the league, leaving them bottom of Division Two in 1994–95.
Leyton Orient's home ground Brisbane Road is officially known as the Matchroom Stadium after club chairman Barry Hearn's sports promotion company. Hearn became chairman in 1995 after the club was put on sale for £5 by then-chairman Tony Wood whose coffee-growing business in Rwanda had been destroyed in that country's civil war. The period of the club's near-closure was covered by the television documentary Orient: Club for a Fiver (made by Open Media for Channel 4).
Geraint Williams was appointed manager on 5 February 2009, taking over from Kevin Nugent who was in temporary charge after the sacking of Martin Ling on 18 January 2009. Williams left the club on 3 April 2010 after the 3–1 home defeat to Hartlepool United. Nugent resumed temporary charge for one game, after which Russell Slade was appointed manager until the end of that season and has since had his contract extended.
|This article or section may be slanted towards recent events. (December 2008)|
Leyton Orient was originally formed by members of the Glyn Cricket Club in 1881, many of whom were former students of Homerton College. The team has had several name changes since, first as Eagle Cricket Club in 1886 then as Orient Football Club in 1888.
The O's are the second-oldest league club in London behind Fulham, and the oldest London club playing in the Football League following Fulham's promotion to the Premier League. They played in the 2nd Division of the Southern Federation's League in 1904, joined the Football League in 1905 and are the 24th oldest club currently playing in the Football League.
History books written on the club by its historian Neilson N Kaufman suggest that the choice of the name Orient came about at the behest of a player (Jack R Dearing) who was an employee of the Orient Shipping Company (later to be taken over by P&O). The club's name was changed again to Clapton Orient in 1898 to represent the area of London in which they played, though there was another team called Clapton F.C.
The name Leyton Orient was adopted following the conclusion of the Second World War. The club had moved to Leyton in 1937, though again there was another team called Leyton F.C. A further rename back to simply Orient took place in 1966 after the Borough of Leyton (in Essex) was absorbed into the London Borough of Waltham Forest. That renaming followed a financial crisis (one of several to hit the club, and by no means the first or last) and restructuring of the company behind the club; this is remembered for a "pass the bucket" collection that took place at a special meeting of supporters in the East Stand, when complete closure was claimed to be a definite possibility.
The club finally reverted to "Leyton Orient" in 1987, shortly after Tony Wood took over as chairman and at a time when a supporters' campaign was taking place in the Leyton Orientear fanzine to reinstate the Leyton part of the club's name.
The 1914–15 season was the last football season before the League was suspended due to the outbreak of the First World War. 41 members of the Clapton Orient team and staff joined up into the 17th Battalion Middlesex Regiment (the Footballers' Battalion), the highest of any football team in the country and the first to join up en masse. At the final game of the season – Clapton Orient vs Leicester Fosse, 20,000 people came out to support the team. A farewell parade was also hosted, but not before the O's had won 2–0. The British Film Institute holds a brief recording of this historic match and parade in their archives.
During the Battle of the Somme, three players gave their lives for King and Country: Richard McFadden, George Scott and William Jonas. Though they were the only Orient staff to have died during the First World War, many others sustained wounds, some more than once and were not able to resume their football careers after the war. Prior to the First World War, O's striker Richard McFadden had saved the life of a boy who was drowning in the River Lea as well as rescuing a man from a burning building.
History was made on Saturday 30 April 1921 when the Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VIII, visited Millfields Road to see the O's play Notts County. The Orient won 3 – 0 and this was the first time a member of royalty had attended a Football League match. The royal visit was to show gratitude for Clapton Orient's patriotic example during the Great War and there is now a plaque erected on the site of the Millfields Road Stadium to commemorate this historic event.
The story of the club's major involvement in the First World War has been told in a 2005 book entitled They Took The Lead, by Stephen Jenkins (the deputy chairman of Leyton Orient Supporters' Club). In July 2006 Steve Jenkins, assisted by Les Bailey, took a party of 150 Leyton Orient supporters and members of the Leyton and Manor Park Royal British Legion over to the Somme region of northern France, to visit World War I war graves and in particular to pay their respects at the resting places of Richard McFadden, William Jonas and George Scott. This was the first official visit to the Orient war graves for 90 years. The trip was so successful that a second visit to the Somme took place the weekend of 12/13 July 2008, this time 183 O's supporters and members of the RBL made the historic pilgrimage. Media interest is growing concerning this amazing and proud period of the Orient's history. Chris Slegg, a BBC London reporter travelled with the party and footage of the Somme trip was shown on every local news bulletin throughout the day on the Monday following the trip.
It is hoped that a documentary or film will one day be made on Clapton Orient's proud service during the Great War. In August 2009 Steve Jenkins, along with fellow O's supporter Theresa Burns and Orient legend Peter Kitchen, launched the O's Somme Memorial Fund with the objective of erecting a permanent memorial in northern France in honour of the Clapton Orient side that answered the call of King and Country.
A third trip to the Somme took place in July 2011 and the O's Memorial was unveiled in the village of Flers on Sunday 10 July.
Orient's golden years were in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1961/62 season Orient were promoted to the top tier of English football, the First Division (now the FA Premier League), for the only time in their history, after finishing second in Division Two under the management of Johnny Carey. The team struggled in the top flight and were relegated from the top division the following season. Nonetheless, they did defeat local rivals West Ham United at home. They spent the whole of the 1970s in Division Two. In 1972 Orient achieved one of the most famous results in their history – coming back from 2–0 down to beat Chelsea 3–2 in the FA Cup 5th round. In 1978 Orient were defeated in the semi final of the FA Cup, the furthest they have progressed in that competition.
Leyton Orient were Division Three South champions in the 1955/56 season and Division Three champions in the 1969/70 season. They were also the Anglo-Scottish Cup Runners up 1976/77.
In 1978 the club was indirectly responsible for the album Variations composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber for his brother, the cellist Julian Lloyd Webber. This reached No.2 in the pop album charts. Variations came about as the result of a bet between the two brothers on the outcome of Orient's final game of the 1976/77 season against Hull City.
In the 1980s Leyton Orient fared less well, and after two relegations found themselves in the fourth tier of English football. However, they ended the decade on a high, as they were promoted in the 1988/89 season, when under manager Frank Clark they were promoted in the Division Four Play-Off Final after a 2–1 aggregate victory over Wrexham F.C.. The early 1990s saw steady progress in the Third Division, missing out on a play-off place in the 1992/93 season on goal difference. However, the financial crisis at the club caused by then-chairman Tony Wood losing his business in the Rwandan Civil War led to a relegation back to the fourth tier (now renamed as the Third Division following the formation of the Premier League). Under manager Tommy Taylor, Orient were defeated in the 1999 and 2001 Third Division Play-Off Finals, played at Wembley Stadium and the Millennium Stadium respectively. The latter final saw the fastest ever Play-Off Final goal scored to date at the Millennium Stadium, as Orient's Chris Tate scored after just 27 seconds. Evidently, Orient's fastest ever goal was scored after just 12 seconds by Lee Steele in a match against his former club Oxford at The Kassam Stadium on 28 March 2005.
After the 2001 play-off final defeat, Leyton Orient took several years to recover from their second play-off final defeat in three years. After Tommy Taylor left the club, Paul Brush spent two unsuccessful years in charge, and after he was sacked former player Martin Ling took over as manager in October 2003, with Orient second-bottom of the league. After several years of steady improvement, Leyton Orient gained promotion in the 2005/06 season, finishing in third place and gaining automatic promotion to the Football League One. This was the club's first automatic promotion in 36 years, and ended a period of eleven years in the English league's bottom division. This promotion season also saw an excellent FA Cup run, with Leyton Orient progressing to the fourth round after beating Premiership side Fulham F.C.. Promotion was only secured in the final minutes of the final game of the season, away at Oxford United; with the score tied at 2–2 and Orient seemingly destined to miss out yet again on promotion, news came through of a late goal scored against promotion rivals Grimsby Town F.C. that would potentially promote Orient, and the Orient fans were still celebrating this when just 14 seconds later, Lee Steele scored to confirm Orient's promotion. The result also relegated Oxford to the Football Conference. Ironically, Grimsby's manager that season was Russell Slade, later to become Orient's manager.
In 2006–07, Orient endured a difficult season in the third tier, having spent most of the season in or around the relegation zone, and were bottom of the table at times in the first half of the season. An improvement in fortunes after Christmas – including memorable wins against Millwall, Tranmere Rovers and a vital win at eventually-relegated Bradford City near the end of the season – helped them finish in 17th place, four spots above the relegation zone. Most of the promotion-winning side left at the end of the season, through a combination of players released and some rejecting new contracts, and while the club's longest-serving player Matthew Lockwood was one of those who signed a new contract, he later moved in pre-season to Nottingham Forest.
2007–08 was better, as Orient finished 14th with 60 points. The Os began the season in fine form, not dropping out of the top seven until after Christmas. However a loss of form in the second half of the season, recording only three wins from the last 12 games, meant the season ended in a respectable mid-table finish.
Leyton Orient kicked off the 2008–2009 season with a 2–1 win over Hereford United at home. Dean Beckwith put Hereford ahead before JJ Melligan and Adam Boyd gave Orient the win. Orient then continued the season with multiple poor results and performances throughout September and October and their only wins were away matches against Walsall and Southend United in the Football League Trophy first round. However Orient were knocked out of the Trophy in the following round in an away match at Brighton & Hove Albion. They were in 22nd position in the Football League One table. Orient booked a place in the second round of the FA Cup after beating Colchester United 1–0. Two Goals from Jason Demetriou and Danny Granville in a 1–2 away victory against Bradford City put Orient through to the third round of the FA Cup where they played Sheffield United at home. They lost 4–1 and, after a run of bad form in the League, Orient parted company with manager Martin Ling and assistant Dean Smith. Youth team manager Kevin Nugent was named caretaker manager overseeing three games. On 5 February 2009 Geraint Williams was announced as manager until the end of the season. He enjoyed a very positive start, winning seven of his first nine matches and moving Orient up to 15th. After Geraint Williams' positive influence on the team they secured their League One status on 13 April with a 1–0 win over Swindon Town at the County Ground, and eventually finished the season in 14th place.
Orient had a proud day when they beat former Premier league runners-up Newcastle United 6–1 in a pre season friendly match on 25 July 2009. By beating Colchester United away, in the 1st round of the Football League Cup Competition, they earned a home second round fixture against Premier League Club, Stoke City F.C..
On 3 April 2010 Geraint Williams was sacked as manager after a 3–1 home defeat to fellow relegation strugglers Hartlepool following a poor run of form. Kevin Nugent once again took control for the 2–1 defeat at Southampton on April 5 and after the match Russell Slade was named as manager until the end of the season. With even less time to save Orient from relegation than Williams before him, Slade managed to bring about a change in form that saw Orient finish in 17th place, just one point but four places clear of relegation. In the summer of 2010 Slade's contract was extended for two years. After a poor start to the 2010/11 season, Orient's league form picked up towards Christmas, culminating in an 8–2 win against non-league Droyslden in an FA Cup second round replay. In a game described as "the weirdest football match ever", Orient had trailed most of the game 2–0, but scored six goals in extra time to progress into the 3rd round. Orient then beat high-flying Championship side Norwich City 1–0 at Carrow Road to progress into the 4th round where they met another Championship side, Swansea City, at the Liberty Stadium. Orient beat Swansea 2–1 to set up a glamour 5th round tie against Premier League giants Arsenal at Brisbane Road, which finished in a 1–1 draw thanks to a late Jonathan Téhoué equaliser for the O's, to set up a replay at the Emirates Stadium. Leyton Orient lost that replay 0–5, bringing to an end their longest run in the FA Cup since 1981/82. Either side of the Arsenal games, Leyton Orient went on a club record-equalling 14 games unbeaten, putting them just outside the play-off positions. However they were unable to maintain that momentum and ultimately missed out on the play-off's by just one point.
Orient's crest is made up of two wyverns facing each other over a football. The wyvern symbol was introduced in 1976 and is believed to incorporate Orient's links with the City of London (the wyvern is the symbol of the Thames, it is believed to be the defender of the Thames) and with the sea, through the old Orient Shipping Company. The wyvern on the badge provided the inspiration for the club mascot Theo who got his name from a shortening of the club nickname, The O's. Theo first appeared in the 2000–01 season.
Previous club crests have included a version of the Borough of Leyton's coat of arms, and a single red dragon.
Orient's main rivals are Southend United, after a period of Orient being United's closest league rivals. Although they have not played in the same division since 2009/10 due to Southend's relegation from League One, they have played in the League Cup in 2011/12 season, Leyton Orient beating United after extra time on penalties. Other local rivals include Brentford, Dagenham and Redbridge, West Ham United and to a lesser extent and from a little further afield, Brighton & Hove Albion and Cambridge United.
Leyton Orient's initial ground was at Glyn Road between 1884 and 1896 when the club moved to Whittle's Athletic Ground and played there until 1900. The O's also played pre-season friendlies at Leyton Cricket Ground for several seasons. The O's left for Millfields Road soon after. A further ground change in 1930 to Lea Bridge Road occurred, but a complaint over perimeter fencing in 1930 meant that Orient were forced to play home games at another ground while urgent alterations took place. They chose to play the first at Wembley Stadium, and even though Lea Bridge was ready again, chose Highbury and Wembley once again; an attendance of only 2,500 at the final game ensured a move back to Lea Bridge. Finally, the club moved to their current Brisbane Road home in 1937.
Brisbane Road has undergone many changes since Orient's arrival. Previously known as Osborne Road and having been the home of Leyton F.C., it initially had only one stand (known as "the orange box") on the east side that held 475 people, and cover on the west side for standing. All of the standing was cinder banks. The East Stand (also known as the Main Stand) was bought from Mitcham Greyhound Stadium in 1956, and eventually extended to cover the whole east side. The terraced enclosures at the front of the East Stand were replaced by seating in the late 1990s. Over the decades, the west side became a covered terrace and finally a seated-stand, while uncovered terracing was built at the north and south sides. As the ground's capacity was being progressively reduced through changes to ground safety regulations, Orient looked to redevelop Brisbane Road as an all-seater stadium to secure its future there.
The initial plans, dubbed Orient 2000 by the club, were revealed in the mid-1990s. The plans were ambitious, as they involved rotating the pitch and developing all four sides. However, the club's near-bankruptcy and subsequent buy-out by Barry Hearn meant that a more realistic redevelopment plan was instigated. The first phase involved demolition of the South Terrace in the late 1990s, and after delays while National Lottery funding was unsuccessfully sought, the new South Stand was opened at the start of the 1999/2000 season.
The next phase of redevelopment (replacement of the North Terrace and West Stand) ran into financial problems. Notwithstanding that finance for the redevelopment had already been raised by selling off the four corners of the stadium for residential blocks of flats, an increase in costs meant that an emergency general meeting of the company was needed in April 2005. It was agreed that the club should sell a c.999-year lease on the West Stand for £1.5 million to a consortium led by Barry Hearn (under the company name Samuel Beadie (Leyton) Ltd, or SBLL), with SBLL leasing back to the club on a same-length lease all of the stand except the office space for an annual rent of £1. The additional funds generated by this complicated arrangement were used to complete the building of the West Stand. External completion of the West Stand was achieved in mid 2005, and the stand was opened for the 2005/06 season. The stand has a single lower tier of seating, while further up the structure are directors' and corporate hospitality boxes, club offices and player facilities (the latter were fitted out in summer 2007, prior to which the players continued to use the facilities in the East Stand).
A second EGM was held in May 2006, where it was agreed to sell further land behind the North and South Stands to SBLL for £1.25 million, the proceeds to be used to fund the building of the North Stand. The plan was to commence building the North Stand in July 2006 and for it to be open by Christmas 2006, however Waltham Forest council initially rejected the revised planning application for the stand and its adjoining additional flats. A revised application was submitted, and passed in early 2007, and construction began towards the end of the 2006/07 season. The stand – which has become the Family Stand – was completed before the 2007/08 season, giving the O's a four sided ground once more with a capacity just under 9,300. The modernisation of the East Stand is a more distant prospect.
During the 2008–09 season, Leyton Orient changed the name of their South Stand in honour of the late Orient top scorer, Tommy Johnston. The stand is known simply as the Tommy Johnston Stand.
In October 2011, Leyton submitted a request to the Football League to move into and become tenants of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, following complaints over West Ham United being given ownership over the stadium. Orient claimed that the stadium was too close to their stadium, which they claimed would breach FA rules, and by extension, move the club into bankruptcy. There has also been talk of the club moving into the 15,000 seater Riverbank Arena post-Olympics.
The club shirt sponsorship deals have included tie-ups with Independent Transport, Acclaim Entertainment, Marchpole, Matchroom Sport, PokerMillion.com, and at the start of the 2008/09 season entered into a three year deal with PartyGaming.com to present PartyPoker.com, PartyBets.com and PartyCasino.com on the front of players' and replica kits.
In the 2012/13 season, the shirt sponsors will be Samsung and FIFA13.
|Assistant Manager||Kevin Nugent|
|Youth Team Manager||Andy Edwards|
|Goalkeeping Coach / Chief Scout||Kevin Dearden|
|Youth Development Worker||Christian Wynne|
|Youth Team Physiotherapist||George Lopez|
|Club Doctor||Dr Christopher Hughes|
|Crowd Doctor||Dr Carl Waldmann|
|Kit Manager||Adrian Martin|
|Fitness Coach||Christian Hyslop|
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
League Titles – Division Two runners up 1961–62, Division Three Champions 1969–70, Division Three South Winners 1955–56, runners up 1954–55
FA Cup – Semi finalists 1977–78
Notable fans include Bob Mills, Julian Lloyd Webber, Julian's brother Andrew, Daniel Mays The album Variations, which was famously used as the theme tune for London Weekend Television's South Bank Show, was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber as the result of his losing a bet to his brother Julian Lloyd Webber on the result of a Leyton Orient match. Julian later presented a gold disc of Variations to the club chairman at half time during a game with Leicester City.